RCGP statement on GP contract

Responding to NHS England’s changes to the GP contract for 2023/24, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams want to be able to ensure all their patients receive safe, appropriate and timely care. But workload is escalating while GP numbers are falling – 340m consultations were delivered in general practice last year, up 9% on 2019 yet with 843 fewer fully-qualified GPs. We have a finite number of GPs, a finite number of other clinicians who can help patients, and a finite number of appointments we can offer on any given day. The details of contractual negotiations are for the BMA GPC, but we are concerned that the access requirements and timelines are asking GPs and our teams to do significantly more without sufficient resource, especially given the increased patient expectation it will lead to. The contract does set out some funding flexibilities, such as within the Additional Reimbursement Recruitment Scheme, but these do not go far enough. 

"Our warnings about the intense pressures GPs and our teams are working under and the impact this is having on patients need to be acted upon. We know thousands of GPs are considering leaving the profession in the coming years, many citing workload and workforce pressures as the reasons why, and that would make it even harder for patients to get the care and services they need when they need it. We are concerned that imposing this contract could worsen this situation, particularly if significant additional resources do not follow. 

"GPs and our teams make the vast majority of NHS patient contacts and in doing so, alleviating pressures elsewhere in the health service, including emergency departments, but our service is struggling. We need support - not further demand without it. This is why we need to see a bold new plan to increase the GP workforce beyond the 6,000 more GPs the Government promised in its election manifesto, alongside more investment in our services, including our IT systems and premises, and further efforts to cut bureaucracy to allow us more time with patients."

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.